Stating that he feels ashamed to go to people and seek votes at present, Chairman Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) and MLA Langate Monday announced that his party will not participate in upcoming by-polls.
Addressing media persons in a local hotel here, he repeatedly clarified that he was not calling “boycott” but “non-participation” in upcoming polls.
“The mainstream parties have played such a dirty role during the turbulent eight months that one feels ashamed to go to the people and ask for votes. The reputation of the word ‘mainstream’ has been degraded,” he said.
Rasheed said that during the last months the situation in the valley has been turbulent and holding or participating in the elections at this time is not in the interest of the people of Kashmir and it will mislead world bodies on the Kashmir dispute.
“As such we will not take part in the elections.”
He said that though the Party strongly believes in democratic process, the main political parties including National Conference and PDP “have not only disappointed Kashmiris but are also responsible for creating a situation where one feels ashamed to seek votes, as these parties have always tried to represent New Delhi in Kashmir rather representing Kashmir in New Delhi by acting like collaborators.”
He added that since 2008 till date, time bears testimony to the fact that inside and outside the assembly “we have consistently raised the demand of “Rai Shumari (self-determination)”.
“I am safeguarding the sacrifices and people should never take election as substitute to sacrifices.”
“Unlike PDP and NC who represent New Delhi in Kashmir rather than vice versa, I represent the sacrifices of the people,” he said.
He said the elections are being conducted at a time when the situation is not ripe. “Holding elections at this juncture will mislead the world bodies.”
He said that elections are no substitute for the resolution of Kashmir dispute and reiterated that the resolution of the long-pending dispute lies in holding a free and fair plebiscite.
He said that his party believes in democratic processes and is of the opinion that the democracy is the only tool that can be used for the peaceful resolution of the dispute.
“I believe that be it assembly, parliament or any other democratic institution, world bodies acknowledge it only,” he added.
He said that given the circumstances prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, democracy as an institution is the only tool available to the people of Kashmir to fight for their cause.
He said that his party stands for the electoral process. “And no one becomes Indian or Pakistani or anti-Kashmir by taking part in the electoral processes. Our principled stand is that elections in no way do impact the Kashmir issue.”